Super League 2020: Scrum-half Richie Myler likely to feature in multiple roles for Leeds Rhinos
WHEN a club signs an England scrum-half, and already has an England scrum-half on its books, it is obvious that somebody is unfortunately going to be left on the outside looking in.
Richie Myler might feel that is the case with himself at Leeds Rhinos given they recently forked out a significant transfer fee for Castleford Tigers’ Luke Gale.
Former Man of Steel Gale, understandably, is seen as the stellar player who could help revive the faltering Rhinos in 2020 and ensure they do not suffer a third-successive fight against relegation.
He played in the 2017 World Cup final for England and – after a couple of years dogged by injury – is primed to fire again having joined his hometown club.
Gale being awarded the No 7 jersey last week, previously held by Myler, is another tell-tale sign – not that it is needed – that the 31-year-old will start the campaign in the pivotal role.
Still, Myler was Leeds’ player of the year after joining from Catalans Dragons in 2018, and also played for England against New Zealand at the end of that campaign.
Furthermore, this last season he missed only three games.
Myler, 29, still has a year left to run on his contract and there has obviously been plenty of speculation about his future since Gale’s switch was confirmed.
However, Rhinos boss Richard Agar has spoken glowingly about the player’s attitude and application in pre-season training and maintains there is no reason why he can’t feature in his plans in the new campaign.
“We spoke with Richie all along during that particular part of last year – when we were looking to bring another seven in – and squad numbers are just that: numbers,” he said.
“You can read into that what you want but form dictates positions more than squad numbers. In Richie’s particular case I could not praise him enough. He’s come in, he’s worked hard, he’s done terrific in training.
“He’s got his head down and got on with it.
“We’ve asked him to be ready to cover multiple positions; obviously it’s a challenge for the half-back spots but outside of that, challenge for a bench spot, too.
“He can go in in three or four different spots and he’s just relished it.
“Everything he has done pre-season has been first class; I just couldn’t put enough praise on him for the way he has gone about his business.
“Whatever squad number he finishes up with, it’s certainly not affecting his performance and his attitude.
“It’s quite the opposite actually.”
Meanwhile, following captain Trent Merrin’s move to St George-Illawarra, Agar says he wants to get two more new signings in before the season kicks-off: “I’d like to get them in sooner rather than later but you just have to get the right bloke and in the right spot.
“We think we still have significant space on the cap and we have got a little bit of room on our quota so we’ll have a look at what’s happening and see if we can get the right person but also find value for money, too.
“We’re not in any immediate rush but, at the same time, we are actively looking.
“I’d like to try and get another two in.”